Plover’s Greek Temple: Part 1 – Origins
By Wendell Nelson
Any building that is destroyed is a loss, even one that is small or plain. For even a nondescript structure – a house or church or school or store building – has a history that makes it more than an assemblage of boards, nails, and bricks or stones. And the loss is much greater when the building is very old and/or ornate.
Such is the case with the house built for Charles and Mary Rice in Plover Village way back near the founding of present Portage County.
The house was a masterpiece of Greek revival architecture, a style patterned after that of ancient Greek temples. When it was built, around 1848, that style was in fashion, and all over the eastern half of the United States, structures were built in it: houses, schools, churches, stores and government buildings. The Philadelphia water works, for example, built in1811 – earlier because the style migrated from Europe and reached the East Coast first – was a whole complex of authentic-looking Greek temples.
Part one of seven
As manifested here, the house was very high-style in having all of the identifying details of the period. It had, first, a single ridgepole – the peak running from front to back of the main upright – and gables. Each of those gables, one in the front and one in the rear, had a large triangle, called a pediment. In this case, it was a full pediment, because it had all three sides of the triangle. Each of the two wings – projections on both sides of the upright – had a full pediment, too.
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